Ellerslie remedial work to commence immediately

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  • April 24, 2024
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Ellerslie remedial work to commence immediately


Following the partial abandonments of race meetings at Ellerslie on 10 and 20 April, Auckland Thoroughbred Racing (ATR) have announced the planned winter renovation of their newly installed StrathAyr track will commence immediately, with their May 25 meeting to be transferred to Pukekohe Park.

The club said the decision comes as a proactive response to recent track issues and concerns raised by stakeholders, with officials confident the planned renovation will greatly assist in removing the root mat which has compromised traction.

Saturday’s abandonment follows a mid-week meeting abandonment on 10 April that required the Club to undergo immediate remedial works and conduct a trial meeting. After thorough assessment and constructive dialogue with stakeholders there was a collective agreement that racing could proceed at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Despite these concerted efforts to ensure optimal track conditions, unfortunate circumstances arose during the course of Saturday’s meeting after a horse slipped during race 6, resulting in the cancellation of the remaining two races for the safety and well-being of all participants.

“We find ourselves at a loss for words. Our team shares a sense of disappointment and frustration, not only for ourselves but also for the broader industry,” ATR Chief Executive Paul Wilcox said.

“With unwavering faith in our new direction, we regret any disappointment experienced by those affected in recent weeks.

“We have had every confidence in the new surface and, while we still strongly believe this is the right track for us, are sorry to those for whom have been let down over the past couple of weeks.

“Despite setbacks, we recognise the importance of embracing this experience as a lesson and, as we embark on our scheduled renovation, remain committed to positive progress.

“We express our sincere appreciation to our stakeholders and the racing community for their understanding and continued support during this time.”

NZTR chief operating officer Darin Balcombe echoed Wilcox’s sentiments and was supportive of Ellerslie’s pre-emptive move to Pukekohe.

“After all efforts were made to improve the surface following the 10 April abandonment, NZTR was disappointed in the outcome of the partial abandonment Saturday at Ellerslie,” he said.

“We fully support ATR’s proactive approach to move the meeting on May 25th to Pukekohe and will work alongside Ellerslie over the winter as we work toward ensuring the surface is at its best for the 2024/25 season.

“The NZTR Board will meet this Wednesday and, alongside management and ATR, will review the process to potentially seek independent advice that the winter renovation will alleviate all ongoing issues and provide the industry with the confidence it needs for the long-term.

“The first meeting of the season is set to take place in September and will undergo a robust and thorough return to racing protocol ahead of the first meeting.”


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